Aparigraha (Part Two) 

….My internal organs are communicating quite clearly now, there’s a moment of panic in my chest and the sweat on my brow has returned. I fumble with the lock on my door, slip inside my room and make my way to the toilet just in time. 

Releasing, releasing, releasing. 

I am overcome with fatigue. 

Slowly, I make my way to my bed, collapse and fall into a deep sleep. 

I awaken to another grumble in my belly. 

This time, as I come out of my sleep-state, I remember the dream; it’s the same one as before, it’s crystal clear now. 

I hear the golden message from the dream echoing in my mind as I make my way to the toilet once more – “Aparigraha, Aparigraha, Aparigraha” 

I sit on the toilet, grimacing and asking myself “what does Aparigraha mean again?” It’s a Sanskrit word I’m familiar with but I can’t remember the meaning. I know we studied it in philosophy class. Was it a Yama or Niyama? 

Releasing, releasing, releasing. 

Exhausted, I make my way back to my bed. 

I roll over in bed and pull my Yoga Sutra’s book from my backpack. I’ve fallen in love with Nischala Joy Devi’s interpretation of the Sutras and smile with a sense of grounding and familiarity as I flip to the index in the back of this now well-worn book, looking for “Aparigraha”. 

It’s the 10th term listed, patiently waiting there for me : Aparigraha (gratitude), xxviii, 58, 93, 164, 167, 177, 201-4, 211. 

I flip through each page listed, reading with a mental hunger. What is at the heart of the teaching that is echoing in my mind? 

My whole body feels weak. 

As I reach page 201, the lesson is fully presented: 

Sutra 2.39: Acknowledging abundance (Aparigraha), we recognize the blessings in everything and gain insights into the purpose of our worldly existence. 

Aparigraha gives us the secret to earthly life. Take a moment to feel gratitude for the great blessings that surround you: the home you live in, the service you do in the world, the availability and quantity of food you have to eat. The riches also include your friends, your health, and the opportunity to dedicate time to know your own heart. 

• 

As a society, we enjoy luxuries that were not even awarded to the royalty of the past. They were not blessed with the simple comforts we now consider everyday requirements. Central heat and air conditioning, indoor plumbing, or simply a knob to turn in order to cook our meals are often taken for granted. The next time you are called to nature in the middle of the night, be thankful it is as near as the next heated room”. 



…as I read that last line, my belly grumbled once more. I could feel that this time, the releasing would be in an upward motion. 

I rushed to the toilet…

Releasing, releasing, releasing. 
Head hung over the toilet bowl, I steadied myself and slowly slumped against the cool floor. 

I looked down to see myself covered in my own vomit. 

Aparigraha, I reminded myself. 

The thoughts that then came were an intermingling of:

  • I am grateful for this private washroom. 
  • I am grateful for this cool floor. 
  • Oh my dear lord, everything hurts everywhere. 
  • Why is this happening? 
  • What did I eat? 
  • I am grateful for the shower head, which hangs just beside the toilet. 
  • Oh f*ck, this is disgusting.
  • Uhhhhh the smell. 
  • I am grateful that this will be easy to clean. 
  • Oh my goodness I am so grateful that this will be easy to clean. 

I gathered enough strength to prop myself up and turn the shower knob. 

Cold water came streaming down on me, and the toilet; washing everything away. 

Aparigraha. 

Aparigraha. 

Aparigraha. 
Dripping wet, I stumbled back to bed. 

I lay motionless, naked, sweating in the heat, meditating on this teaching. 

After a while I picked up the book and continue reading, finding myself at Sutra 2.42: 

When at peace and content with oneself and others (Santosha), supreme joy is celebrated. 

Santosha is an agreement of faith that we make with our Divine Self. This faith fastens us to the peace that abides in our hearts, no matter what the fates bring. By this affirmation we firmly identify with our inner essence rather than with external objects. Our identification then travels with gratitude, appreciating how much we have rather than how much we want. With this attitude, all things that come and go do not have the opportunity to override our joy. Instead, they metamorphose into stillness and peace”. 


Breathing deeply, softening into the mattress, I felt an incredible wave of gratitude wash over me. “All things that come and go do not have the opportunity to override our joy” 
I placed my hands over my heart once more and tilted my head to my heart. 

“Thank you,” I whispered, “thank you, thank you body for holding it all together even though it feels like everything is falling apart”. 

I rolled my head over to my right and gave kisses to my shoulders “thank you, body. Thank you”. 

I brought my awareness to the sheets and whispered “thank you”. 

I brought my awareness to the pillow beneath my head – “thank you”. 

I brought my awareness to the mattress – “thank you. Oh my goodness, thank you”. 
The day passed with countless trips back and forth between the toilet and the bed. Slipping in and out of consciousness, purging, releasing, cleansing and then sleeping. 

All the while, experiencing nauseating pain and mental strife; all the while, feeling deep gratitude. 
It took three days for all the purging to subside and for my strength to return. Meanwhile a dear friend was able to cover the classes I was scheduled to teach – grateful for him! 

On the third day I managed to pull myself together enough to teach at the ashram – grateful for this experience and the connections made through these classes. 
Finally, I can’t help but laugh. The laughter has continued to outshine any struggling and I continue laughing to myself:

“You’re in India, sweet one. Accept the lessons as they come”. 

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